Review: Gimme Danger
Interestingly, when it was first announced that Jim Jarmusch’s Gimme Danger would be debuting at Cannes (in the Midnight program), many prognosticators thought of Asif Kapadia’s Amy.
But aside from the fact that Amy (perhaps rightly) won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, these are different experiences. Gimme Danger likely to its credit, is an insider film. Though it may help to have some knowledge of Iggy Pop and of the Stooges, it certainly doesn’t seem to want to reach out to the neophyte. Instead, through the use of interviews, archival footage, a little bit of animation, and some irreverence, Jarmusch slowly but surely outlines a very noble thesis: that The Stooges are the line, the measure by which music transformed. Before Iggy and The Stooges, there was A. The Stooges were the equation changers. Then, now, there is B.
Gimme Danger as a film doesn’t feel as quietly revolutionary as the contributions from the band. This is perhaps because Jarmusch allows the viewers to peek behind the curtain immediately, calling Iggy Pop “Jim Osterberg”, (Jim et Jim). What kind of Music Deity goes by a name like Jim Osterberg? In a sense, this is consistent with the tone of the film, which doesn’t place Osterberg (sorry, Iggy Pop), or his bandmates (only those in the know start to see why Iggy Pop is the main focus and it’s not solely because he was the lead singer). This isn’t hagiography, this isn’t mythmaking. Jarmusch doesn’t appear to be harkening back to an earlier time, (well, maybe a little). This is the story of a Rock band (precious little is devoted to Pop’s solo success) and Jarmusch tells the story well.
But it’s not a confrontational film like Amy is, nor doesn’t it try to be, though it is theatrical. Don’t expect to replicate the ride on a phone. This is huge sound, big ego clashes, No Fun and full of Danger.
Yet if you wanna watch what Jarmusch is stringing together, then go watch and listen on a giant screen. It’s a long trip, but it is quite an experience.